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Case Launched Against Kyrgyz 'Computer Smasher'

Nurlan Motuev faced charges of embezzlement years before the current case.
BISHKEK -- Bishkek police say they have charged a former presidential candidate with vandalizing the office of an independent newspaper, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Police investigator Bekjan Isakov told RFE/RL that Nurlan Motuev is charged with damaging private property on March 25, when he forced his way into the Bishkek offices of the independent "Uchur" newspaper and destroyed some of its computers.

Motuev admitted that he destroyed the equipment, but said his actions were motivated by the newspaper's "erroneous articles that hurt his personal dignity and honor." He said after the incident that the newspaper had been "insulting" and "libeling" him for a long time.

Motuev, 39, added that he does not trust the local courts to prosecute a case against the newspaper, and that is why he decided to "punish the newspaper in that way."

Motuev ran for president in 2009. He was arrested in 2006 and charged with illegal business activities, including embezzling money from the sale of coal.

He now heads the small Joomart (Generous) movement, which was supportive of President Kurmanbek Bakiev.